Penicillin, vaccines and human body parts are all created in a laboratory, and now, even lab-grown meat is becoming a popular scientific investment. Google sponsored an engineering team on August 5th 2013 to create the very first lab-grown hamburger patty. After assembling 20,000 tiny muscle cells in an in-vitro environment while spending $375 000, the first lab-grown meat product was created.
Willem Van Eelen, one of the top researchers for lab-grown meat, gave an interview in 2011 with the New Yorker, explaining how the process works. Eelen states, “In-vitro meat… can be made by placing a few cells in a nutrient mixture that helps them proliferate.” He goes on to explain that “as the cells begin to grow together, forming muscle tissue…the tissue can be stretched and molded into food, which could, in theory, at least, be sold, cooked and consumed like any processed meat hamburger… or sausage.”
With enough effort, science can provide humans with the meat we crave without the destructive effects on the environment and abuse of cattle farms. Unfortunately, lab-grown meat didn’t draw very much attention until after the death of Eelen.
Although lab-grown meat offers hope for a food source that doesn’t destroy the environment, not everyone supports lab-grown meat. Corry Curtis, an avid foodie, and other like-minded naturalists feel that food is moving away from nature. “I realize that lab-grown meat can do a lot of good for third world countries and a lot of good for the environment, but it's not natural,” says Curtis. Curtis also mentions that while genetically modified foods provide many benefits, people become dependent on chemically enhanced goods.
Curtis stresses how lab-grown meat is so unnatural that the meat is almost removed from nature itself. She also explains that if this trend does take off, meat consumption could be consumed on a dangerous level. “Leading research has proven that meat, high in protein, is one of the leading causes of diabetes and not sugar,” explains Curtis.
Perhaps scientists will combine both the teachings of Curtis and Eelen to give us the best hamburger ever when lab-grown meat becomes more widely available.
The creation of lab-grown meat shows how world hunger could actually be cured if and when enough minds come together. Since lab-grown meat is animal-friendly with little damage on the environment, this new source of meat stands as a beacon of hope to animal-lovers and vegetarians.